Purpose of the STSM: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains one of the deadliest solid organ cancers with no
significant improvements in outcomes, despite recent advances in cytotoxic and immunotherapies.
Previously, the applicant’s team designed and pre-evaluated a series of small RNA oligonucleotides conjugated to aptamers (conjugates), specifically targetting PDAC cells [1,2]. Substantial oncological in vivo response, as a result from a significant tumour volume reduction in the treated animals, has previously been observed in liminal studies. Iterative optimization of the treatment strategy is now their goal.
In this short mission,their plan was to evaluate and optimize the efficacy of the conjugates, previously tested in a series of pre-clinical studies, performed during the first half of 2022. All studies used a murine model of advanced PDAC, where human pancreatic cancer cells are directly implanted into the liver. We analysed relevant tissues, by measuring target gene(s) and protein(s)’ activity, as well as measure other relevant serum biomarkers.

Grantee name: Daniel Vasconcelos

STSM start and end date: 15/06/2022 to 15/10/2022

Title: Precision RNA Aptamers for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Host lab: Prof. Nagy Habib, Imperial College London (London, GB)